Allocating 2.5m to coronavirus fight is the "biggest joke" – expert

Ishmael Norman

President of the Institute for Security, Disaster and Emergency Studies, Dr. Ishmael Norman believes the 2. 5 million cedis government has committed towards the fight against a possible outbreak of the Coronavirus is not just a joke but the biggest one. Even the allocation of 9 doctors and 26 nurses among others by the Ridge Hospital as well as “perceived adequacy” of Tema General Hospital, both designated treatment centres, to handle the outbreak is assessed by him as a “joke”. Dr. Norman made the observations during a public forum put together by Media General’s Thought Leadership Series and Vodafone Ghana under theme: “Emerging Infectious Diseases (EIDs) and their Effects on Public Health Management in Ghana” on Tuesday. “The allocation of 2.5 million cedis is the biggest joke because it is coming from the government,” he asserted. “I think often times, government and people do not know the importance of what disaster preparedness truly, truly is; because it can bring your government, programmes, everything you have been doing so hard to build and collapse overnight. “But we don’t take it seriously so when you look at 2.5 million you think it is a lot of money, barely 500,000 dollars is absolutely nothing.” He noted that the amount is even not enough to cater for the needs of health personnel in case of an outbreak. Dr. Ishmael Norman admitted government has also budgeted 35 million cedis when the need arises, “but in preparedness, you don’t wait for the cases to be confirmed before you prepared”. He therefore rated Ghana 30% when it comes to containment and management preparedness. He also called on Ghanaian authorities to be truthful to the citizens about the true state of the country’s preparedness for the disease, the WHO calls a global crisis, because it would be “infantile” for officials to “lie” to Ghanaians. Dr. Norman was certain with Ghana’s level preparedness, when there is outbreak of coronavirus in “Whatever that we have would have fallen apart at the implementation stage”. The President of the Institute for Security and Emergencies Studies, Dr. Ishmael Norman advised the government its awareness campaign by translating information into local dialects. Meanwhile, Dr. Badu Sarkodie, Director of Public Health at Ghana Health Service has elaborated plans by the country to contain any outbreak of the virus, noting that even though preparedness is “not optimal, it is not a joke”.

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